"No matter how much I exercise or how healthy I eat, I can't seem to lose the last 10 pounds!" Have you experienced this common frustration? If so, then read on! Breaking through weight loss plateaus is one of my specialties.
Here are seven easy tips I strongly suggest for immediate action to whittle the middle and lighten the load.
1. Add more green.
Greens are one of the most magical offerings from nature and the most important addition to any diet to improve health and slim the waistline. Low in calories, high in nutrients, and loaded with fiber and water, they fill the belly and are guilt-free. Plus, there are so many options, it's easy to keep the flavors interesting and varied. The trick is to skip the extra dressing and minimize added oil. Learn to enjoy the flavor of the veggies by combining flavors and textures.
Get creative! There are so many options besides salads. Try steaming collards and using them as a wrap, or make a stir fry and use romaine to make lettuce cups.
2. Eliminate all sugar — even the "healthy" kind!
So many of my clients are blind to the added sugar that creeps into their diet becauset it comes in soooo many forms and is masterfully disguised! I'll keep it simple. Steer clear of all pre-made sauces and dressings, eliminate fruit, and skip all "natural/organic" sweeteners including honey, agave and molasses. Just because it says organic does not mean it's good for you. Watch out for those sugary veggies, like carrots. They are great in moderation, but too much of a good thing is still too much of a good thing.
3. Eat real, whole grains.
In my opinion, the idea that carbs make you fat is yet another myth and marketing ploy. Chosen wisely and eaten in moderation, healthy "carbs" (complex, whole wheat ones) actually help sustain energy levels, fuel the brain, and keep you full for a longer period of time. Steer clear of all wheat and ALL flour — gluten-free, organic rice flour, whatever. Skip it. Think real whole grains, as in the way nature created them before processing existed. Choose: organic whole grain rice (so many varieties), millet, and quinoa (technically a seed). Soak before cooking, eat in moderation. You'll notice the next day that your energy lasts all day long, you think you are Einstein, and you need fewer snacks. Amazing!
4. Eliminate alcohol.
Forget what they say about wine or beer being good for you. Alcohol kills your waistline. Period. It's metabolized by the body differently than other foods. The liver is responsible for digestion and detoxification. Because alcohol is basically poison, the liver prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol over than fat. If your goal is weight loss, you want the liver focusing as much attention as possible on fat!
Remember, drinking is a choice, and even in social situations, you do not have to succumb to peer pressure. Choose to honor your body, make your goals a priority, and find other ways to wind down such as exercise, meditation, or a nice hot bath.
5. Hydrate properly.
In my experience, there seems to be two types of people: those that drink 10 gallons of water a day and flush their system completely of electrolytes, and those that only take down 1-2 glasses a day, choosing instead to fuel up on coffee and other stimulants. Proper hydration is a key element for optimum health. Drinking pure, clean water keeps the system healthy, optimized, and looking pretty. It's also critical for your brain and vital organs.
In addition to water, I have all my clients drink coconut water. Coconut water is a miracle elixir, loaded with essential micronutrients. It's slightly sweet, and very satisfying! It curbs the sweet tooth, fuels the body, is quite filling, and its low in calories!
6. Get moving.
The body was made to move! We were not designed to sit in a chair at a computer, in a car driving, or on a couch watching tv. It is so much easier to get exercise than people think. Step away from the computer for a five minute stroll or stair climb. This small break from technology will open your mind to new ideas and heighten your ability to focus and concentrate.
Take a business calls outside instead of at your desk and allow the fresh air to energize not only your body but your whole approach to the conversation! Even a simple stroll around the neighborhood after parking and before going into the house will give the body a chance to simply stretch out.
7. Get a full night of sleep.
I cannot stress enough the importance of getting quality sleep. It takes proper attention and most of us overlook the value it provides on so many levels! When it comes to weight loss, restful sleep keeps the mood stable and the hormones balanced, regulating emotions and eliminating cravings. When the body is fatigued, it is constantly searching for energy. This can be confused with hunger and often leads to excess calorie consumption of the wrong kind of food because there's a willingness to down anything that comes in your path.
Do yourself a favor: set yourself up for success by making sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Work backwards so you know what time you need to get to bed, and stay off of your computer and smart phone at least 2 hours before so your brain knows it is time to shut down!
There you have it, the seven easiest things you can change in your health regimen right now to slim down without living a life of deprivation. More importantly, you'll feel better! Notice how your whole outlook on life will change and become brighter and more positive. And then notice how your relationships improve, including the one with yourself!
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